By Karen McMahon
One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is that everything changes. During the holidays this can weigh especially heavily as past family rituals and festivities transition into something else, which initially may seem disappointing in comparison.
How can you begin to create celebrations and fresh creative traditions that will serve you and your children as you move into a new phase of life. I was once told that it takes two life cycles to begin healing and settling into your new circumstances.
A life cycle is a full year of holidays, birthdays, vacations and other customary experiences that occur throughout the year. The first year is hard, you and your children will often ‘suffer’ this transition as you struggle to let go of the old and perhaps resist the new.
My first Christmas I had my two children Christmas eve and the following morning. After they left with their dad at noon on Christmas day. I was devastated. I could not stop crying at the thought of spending the day without them. I called my sister, went for a swim and tried my best to take care of myself. But I would be lying if I said that it was not hard; for me, it was enormously difficult.
The second Christmas, I was fine celebrating Christmas eve without them but waking up to a quiet house until noon on Christmas day was as difficult as the year before…again, I struggled.
After those first two years, I found myself enjoying both my eve’s with adults and the freedom to stay out late and celebrate in a different way and my Christmas mornings of leisure to sleep in a little and have fun surprises for them when they arrived. After time, you and your children have will have settled into a new norm and the struggle of the transition will be behind you. In the midst of your struggles, it is helpful to know that you are in a transition and this too shall pass (a favorite saying of mine).
During this time, be creative and you might even get excited about doing things differently and creating new traditions (we have made Christmas day on my year a pajama day…stay home, enjoy our new gifts, quality time and take out or even desert for dinner).
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